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CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS TO WATCH

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California Schools to Watch is a statewide program implemented by the California League
of Educators, California Department of Education, California Middle Grades Alliance, National Forum, and the California Schools to Watch model schools.
La Cañada Middle School (7-12)

Redesignated: 2017, 2020, 2023

Designated 2014

La Cañada Unified School District

Los Angeles County

Jarrett Gold, Principal

4463 Oak Grove Drive, La Canada, CA 91011

(818) 952-4200

School Characteristics

Community: Suburban; Enrollment: 696; Grade Levels: 7-8. School Schedule: Modified Block Schedule with twice weekly 35-minute Homeroom. School within a school grouping of students/teachers. Late start on Tuesdays to allow for staff collaboration.

School Demographics

11% Hispanic; 1% African American; 27% Asian, 1% Filipino, 6% Two or more; 54% White. 1% Free/Reduced lunch. 3% English Learners.

Replicable Practices

  • Students benefit from “Small Schools” where students share the same teachers allowing teachers (who have common preps) to identify strengths, concerns, opportunities for growth and areas of support for individual students while helping them maintain a healthy outlook on their school journey.

  • Enrichment is available through GATE Homerooms with the choice of an English or science focus. Students are also supported by an after-school Writing Lab and Math Lab once a week, as well as Homework Club and an elective math support class as needed.

  • The principal conducts weekly visits to each of the classrooms during which he provides feedback to the teachers through a shared google document creating a consistent collaborative discussion between the teacher and the principal to help support instructional strategies.

  • The strong academic program is supported by 1:1 computers for students while the modified block schedule allows for an extended period of time for activities, group projects, hands-on experiences, simulations as well as performance tasks.

  • In addition to serving on numerous school advisory and support groups, parents create and lead after school enrichment courses. Parents and teachers also work together to provide experiences such as: Science Olympiad, Math Field Days, Math Counts, and GATE Gatherings.

  • Recognizing the unique needs of their students, La Canada is participating in the Stanford University “Challenge Success” program which focuses on the social, emotional and academic concerns at high performing schools.

  • Math teachers have participated in an extensive three-year training with Teachers Development Group to be sure that their instructional practices are aligned to the standards resulting in a strong understanding of standards and a high level of implementation of the habits and routines of common core math.

  • Technology is part of the daily curriculum in every subject area. In addition to 1:1 Chromebooks, students have access to the state of the art Information Resource Center staffed by a full-time technician to conduct research, edit essays, and use other software required for specific classes.

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